Water from the well comes up to the house to a pressure tank.


Plumbing in the house is fairly complicated, carrying water up from the basement to the main floor and upper floor, and then back down again and through pipes under the concrete slab.

Complex plumbing

In many homes, hot water tanks are the greatest energy user. Instead of a hot water tank, our house has two on-demand water heaters. These are propane-fired Rinnai heaters -- one for the main floor and basement, and the other for the upper floor.


Rinnai tankless water heater
Outdoor unit
199,000 btu/hour capacity
0.6 - 9.4 gallons/minute
Model R94

Rinnai on-demand hot water heater

Even with all its complexity, the job of plumbing is made much easier by the use of modern flexible tubing.

Pipes are color-coded. The red and blue lines indicate hot and cold water. The pair of white lines is part of the hydronic floor heating. The green line is a data cable, with phone, TV, and internet lines.

Flexible color-coded pipes

Water in the hydronic floor heating system is entirely separate from the rest of the plumbing system. The hydronic system is separated into five thermostatically controlled zones, and an electric boiler keeps the water at the desired heat.

Piping for hydronic floor heat, waiting to be embedded in a thin layer of concrete

Rainwater from the roof is collected in a concrete cistern for use in watering plants. To avoid erosion caused by water that has been channelized, any water in excess of the capacity of the cistern is piped to an infiltration trench.

Next:  Electrical...

Cistern being installed

Getting Ready | Well | Milling Wood | Excavation | Concrete |
Framing | More Framing | Plumbing | Electrical | Floors | Roofing

What's Happening Now:
Late Oct | Early Nov | Mid-Nov | Late Nov | Early Dec | Late Dec
Early Jan | Late Jan | Early Feb | Late Feb | Early March | Mid-April - Done!